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Development of Modular Mission Packages Providing Focused Warfighting Capability for the Littoral Combat Ship

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The US Navy has been involved in the development of a new class of combatant ship called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is designed to operate more effectively in the littoral environment by providing enhanced maneuverability through the seaframe's inherent ability to operate at high speeds and in shallow waters. Additionally, to counter the high threat environment of the littorals and to enhance the mission commander's options at reasonable cost, the LCS is designed to augment its core self‐defense capability with modular mission packages (MPs) that provide focused warfighting capabilities. The LCS MPs are classified as systems‐of‐systems (SoSs) as they are made up of: mission systems, support equipment, software, mission crew detachments, and aviation systems; and then integrated into a larger SoS to deliver unique capability. To support the accelerated development schedule, PMS 420 is using an evolutionary acquisition process to provide continuous improvements in warfighting capability over time. The initial MP increments are specifically designed to augment the warfighting areas of Anti‐Submarine Warfare (ASW), Mine Countermeasures (MCM), and Surface Warfare (SUW). Modularity, an open business model, and open system architectures are key enablers supporting the future insertion of new technologies into the MP baseline. The paper will provide a brief overview of the LCS seaframe designs as they impact MP development, but will focus on the development and maturation of the MPs as SoSs. A definition of what composes an MP will be presented along with the perceived benefits and challenges of developing focused warfighting capability separate from the seaframe design. The present status of the SUW, ASW, and MCM MPs will be reviewed as well as their respective incremental development plans. The joint developmental relationship between PMS 420 and PMS 501 will be discussed with respect to the definition and management of seaframe‐MP interfaces. The techniques and methodologies used by PMS 420 in controlling SoS development and evaluating the technical and programmatic performance of the three MPs will be presented. The extensive use of the government laboratories to fulfill the lead system integration role will be presented and the methodology used by PMS 420 in transitioning technologies developed by PMS 420 and/or other program offices for incorporation into MPs will be reviewed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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